Sometime in last year, a girl named Afshan Ashiq’s picture as a really angry Kashmiri girl who was pelting stones at the J&K police force became viral and got her into national media spotlight, it was later discovered that she was a talented footballer. That fame just heled her shape up her sports career and also introduced a lot of young Kashmiri girls to this male-dominated sport.
The photograph helped Afshan get noticed while she was being forced to vent out by pelting stones. Thereby, there were meetings with the Chief Minister of J&K
Mehbooba Mufti who then decided to help Afshan and Women’s football in J&K.Afshan is now the captain and also the goalkeeper of the J&K women’s football team which is now getting exposure at the national level and also competing in the Indian Women’s League. Afshan also plays for a Mumbai club and has also inspired a Bollywood biopic on her life.
Afshan along with her 22-member football team, coach Satpal Singh Kala and manager Tsering Angmo called Union home minister of India, Mr Rajnath Singh on Tuesday. Afshan tsaid that she sought the home minister’s intervention to start a Sports Authority of India Institute in Kashmir to train and encourage young Kashmiri girls to play football.
Afshan said that she was impressed by how patiently the Union minister heard the issues raised by them. She added that they sought for better sports infrastructure in J&K. And the home minister called up J&K CM in front of them and told her to meet them when they go back to Srinagar.
Afsahan has said that CM Mehbooba Mufti was already supporting them in a big way and had also given instructions to the sports secretary to handle well the requirements of the women’s football team. The state administration has ever since provided them all of their sports equipment, helping them put together a team within a year.
She has joined a Mumbai football club to pursue her dream to be a national-level player, also she says that it is her honour to be the captain f J&K women’s football team.
When Afshan was asked whether she regretted the stone-pelting incident, she said that it was a one-off reaction which was triggered by her anger as the result of abusive language being used by a J&K cop as well as the alleged “slapping” of her team member who she was escorting to the football ground at that time, she says that she doesn’t regret anything. She says that she would not have picked up a stone had it not been for the misbehaviour of the police. However she thinks that now she has a reputation and image which is to be maintained. She wants to focus on her football game and make her state and nation proud.